Long died Sunday after battling cancer, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, said in a statement to multiple media outlets.
His death came “after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer,” the statement said.
Senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist since 1987, Long oversaw the church’s explosive growth with membership swelling from a modest 300 to 25,000. The
Long has been senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist since 1987. The church said it grew from 300 members to more than 25,000 under Long’s leadership and became one of the nation’s largest congregations.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is a megachurch run by the late senior pastor Bishop Eddie Long in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, near Lithonia. It has embraced a Pentecostal theology not typically found in African-American Baptist churches.
The church was founded in 1939 in Scottdale as Travelers Rest Baptist Church. In 1983, it moved to Decatur and adopted its current name. Long took over as pastor in 1987. At the time, the church had only 300 members. Since his installation, membership has grown to 25,000.
In 2002, New Birth was chosen to hold the live recording of Dorinda Clark-Cole, and was chosen by the family of rapper and R&B superstar Lisa Left Eye Lopes to host the funeral for the rapper, who was killed in a car accident in La Ceiba, Honduras.
In 2003, New Birth planted a branch called “New Birth Charlotte” in Charlotte, North Carolina. That church is no longer and has since sold its building. Mecklenburg County records show the church defaulted on its payments to Evangelical Christian Credit Union for a $10 million loan.
On August 15, 2004 the church opened a branch called “New Birth Memphis” in Memphis, Tennessee. The church has since closed and New Birth Memphis no longer exists.
Then in the future years, there were more churches such as New Birth Metro, New Birth Knoxville, New Birth Oakland, and New Birth California.
In 2006, the church was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer. The event was attended by four Presidents (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter).
The church has also been marred by controversy, with four individuals filing separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court, Georgia alleging that Bishop Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him when they were teenagers. (Wikipedia)